Researchers in Spain have compared the evidence for two different treatment methods for people newly-diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB).
They were interested in seeing whether one type of treatment is more effective and safer, or if people are more likely to successfully finish one course of treatment compared with the other.
The current treatment method for people with TB lasts for 6 months. For the first 2 months, people take a combination of four drugs, followed by a 4-month course of two different drugs. The second, 4-month course can either be taken as two separate tablets, or as one combined tablet containing both drugs.
Since TB treatment is quite long and complicated, many people stop taking their drugs too early – increasing the risk of spreading drug-resistant bacteria. The World Health Organization (WHO) therefore recommends that people are given the combined tablet over the two separate tablets, to make treatment as easy to follow as possible.
The researchers reviewed the evidence of the two different types of treatment and found that they were both similarly effective in fighting TB. They also noted that there was a comparable level of safety between the two. However, they did discover that people who took the combined tablet might be more likely to relapse.
The review was carried out by the Cochrane Collaboration, a highly-respected, independent network of experts that regularly looks at the evidence base for different aspects of healthcare and publishes reports of its findings to help people make decisions about their treatment.
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